"Killer Kale" Stories Not Based on Science

Friday, July 24, 2015

Recent media reports about the dangers of eating too much kale have "all the hallmarks of a bogus health scare," according to an article in Vox. The meme began in a magazine profile of a Marin County alternative medicine practitioner who claims that because kale is a "hyper-accumulator" of the naturally-occurring toxic metal thallium, it can cause alarming symptoms ranging from neurological disorders to arrhythmias to digestive troubles. The story was picked up by outlets like Mother JonesWomen's Health and Cosmopolitan despite its questionable scientific basis. To throw cold water on concerns about "killer kale," Vox quotes William Toscano, director of Consortium member the Center for Environment & Health Policy: "Causality would be difficult to show because diseases are complex and probably have multiple causes including genetic and epigenetic involvement."